Summer is here and so are festivals and fairs! Find rides, visit with animals, shop the markets and stay up…
Give your child the gift of independence and a lifetime of memories as they experience sleep away camp this summer. Get started on your search and check out these top 20 sleep away camps for kids in Michigan.
Don’t know if sleep away camp is right for you or your child? Read what LittleGuide contributor, Bekah Page-Gourley, had to share about her family’s experience.
Since 1950, Van Buren Youth Camp has helped young people discover themselves, grow as individuals and develop leadership skills. Campers build self-confidence, positive relationships, personal integrity and individual and group responsibility. VBYC is all about leadership, fellowship, creativity and fun! VBYC is a residential, co-ed camp on the shores of Great Bear Lake, and nestled in western Michigan’s fruit belt, VBYC is home to rolling hills, endless trees, rustic cabins, and varied recreation and communal areas.
Ages: 6 – 18
An unequaled camping experience awaits you! Camp Hayo-Went-Ha has been providing young men outstanding adventures for 110 years. It is the oldest YMCA boy’s camp on the same site in the world! Located on 600 acres on the shores of beautiful Torch Lake, YMCA Camp Hayo-Went-Ha has 110 years of tradition and experience to provide incredible adventure campers remember for a lifetime. Boys learn to work together, to support each other and to respect what each member of the cabin has to offer. The wonderful variety of camp trips reinforce the value of teamwork.
Grades 3 – 11
Located in the Northern Michigan’s Lower Peninsula on a pristine 100 acres outside the town of Cheboygan. Walden stretches along Long Lake, a clear, spring-fed body of water, and camp’s terrain ranges from lush meadows to old-growth forests. The philosophy is this: Summer camp should be a place where kids feel safe and supported; where they develop independence and gain skills that feed their resilience and self-confidence; and where they form lasting friendships and craft lifelong memories. That’s The Walden Way.
Grades 2 – 11
A short drive from Detroit, MI just outside the chaos of city life you will find paradise at the end of a dirt road. The Black Ranch is the place to be if you are a girl who loves horses and wants to have fun. Days are filled with riding lessons, trail rides, vaulting, swimming, arts and crafts, boating, archery, and much more! Where else can you choose from more than 70 different horses and have an hour and a half riding lesson every day? Girls come to have fun with friends and horses and enjoy a variety of summer camp activities in a safe and stress-free environment.
Ages: 6 – 15
Circle Pines Summer Camp (Delton)
The mission of Circle Pines is to promote peace, social justice, environmental stewardship, and cooperation. The center aims to demonstrate cooperative alternatives for economic and social issues to each cooperation as a way of life. The program combines elements of a traditional summer camp with cooperative work projects (construction, organic gardening, trail maintenance and cleaning). Educational activities take on topics like climate change, food politics, social justice, ecosystems and the importance of critical thinking. Parents frequently report that their kids come home more independent, thoughtful and interested in the world around them.
Ages: 7 – 15
Greenwoods Boys Camp (Decatur)
More than a sports camp, Greenwoods is a community focused on inclusion and character development. Whether you are a competitive athlete, a musician, or love water sports … there is a place for you at Greenwoods. We teach sportsmanship on the field and teamwork in the bunks. Our elective program allows campers to choose a competitive or non-competitive schedule. A competitive camper may choose to participate in sports leagues and tournament play with our highly skilled coaches, satisfying even the most competitive spirit. A less competitive campers may choose to participate in sports instruction to improve his skills, or elect not to participate in team sports.
Ages: 6 – 15
Lake of the Woods Camp for Girls (Decatur)
We’re more than just a camp, we’re an intentional community focused on guiding girls and teens on how to become their best selves. We provide an encouraging atmosphere where campers are challenged to take healthy risks and form authentic relationships with peers and counselors. Each camper is respected as an important member of the community, and together, we celebrate differences and achievements. Campers create their own activity schedules, with parent input, to tailor an experience that fuels their interests and ignites their passions. Girls return home from Lake of the Woods confident of who they are and what they can accomplish.
Ages: 6 – 15
DAPCEP Summer Camps (Detroit)
Live and learn on a university campus! Reside in the dorms overnight, and during the day, work in laboratories and classrooms to learn advanced STEM topics. Meet professors and current students, and discover what it’s truly like to be a college student!
Grades 2 – 12
Michigan State University GATE Summer Program (East Lansing)
The program offers advanced curriculum in STEM areas, as well as a leadership workshop. Students will take STEM-based classes that have been designed to stimulate students to learn about new developments in mathematics, science, and technology, and to explore related career fields. Students will also take one leadership workshop which will introduce them to concepts and skills required to be a leader in STEM fields.
Grades 6 – 11
YMCA Copneconic Overnight Camps (Fenton)
Camp Copneconic is known as one of the best camping experiences in the Midwest. We offer something for everyone with traditional camp activities combined with adventures such as zip-lining, water sports, rock climbing wall, horseback riding and more; however, we are so much more than that. Through a thoughtfully designed camp experience, campers develop skills that will serve them for life. Forming life-long friendships, participating in activities that help kids conquer fears, and building character are all part of the camp experience that builds confidence and fosters independence.
Grades 3 – 12
Camp Lookout (Frankfort)
Camp Lookout is an organization that empowers young people through experiential learning. We strive to make a positive impact on each member of our community by building connections to self, others and the natural world. Throughout all that we do, we work to create positive connections between campers and staff alike and meaningful experiences for all. When a participant finishes their time with us, we hope they will have a stronger sense of self and independence, a better understanding of how to relate to and communicate with others, and will have tried something new!
Ages: 7 – 17
Indian Trails Camp (Grand Rapids)
Indian Trails Camp brings adaptive recreation to campers in a safe, barrier-free environment. Campers participate in a wide range of activities while learning perseverance, teamwork, and self-reliance and experiencing empowering fun and friendship. At the same time, their families and caregivers are afforded some much-needed rest. What’s not to love? Campers with a wide variety of disabilities can find enjoyment and enrichment at camp.
Ages: 7 – 17
YMCA Camp Ohiyesa (Holly)
Prepare your child to unplug and experience the magic of overnight camp. The nurturing, genuine, and enthusiastic staff hail from all over the world. At camp, there are towers to climb, slides to ride, roaring campfires to gather around, and memories to be made. Campers gain independence, build friend-making skills, challenge their limits, explore the natural world, and create lifelong habits of healthy living. Each overnight camper chooses two skills areas that they will learn and attends those clinics every day, providing an opportunity for substantial skill progression. Campers choose daily cabin challenge activities with their bunkmates, enjoy laid back relaxation, take part in all camp evening programs like campfires and capture the flag, as well as ride the slide or take on the lake during swim time.
Ages: 4 – 16
Camp Wonder at the Howell Nature Center (Howell)
Camp Wonder offers an Overnight Excursion Camp, a Spirit of Alexandria Overnight Camp, and a Teen Overnight Camp. The Overnight Excursion camp offers campers an exciting opportunity to challenge themselves and learn new skills in a wilderness setting. In partnership with the Spirit of Alexandria Foundation (SOA), the Howell Nature Center’s Camp Wonder offers the opportunity for children to unplug from technology and connect with nature! The Teen overnight camp is for teenage campers, both onsite and off. Whether heading out on an excursion or learning the skills to become a counselor, campers will get in-depth experiences, have fun and grow as leaders.
Grades 3 – 12
YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin (Middleville)
From opening night campfires to spending your days soaking up the sun, making a splash on Barlow Lake, or horseback riding, YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin offers a unique and memorable experience. Choose from a traditional overnight experience or a horse overnight experience and seize your summer.
Grades 2 – 8
Camp Newaygo Girls Resident Camp (Newaygo)
Campers from around the country and throughout the world have enjoyed fun filled summers at Camp Newaygo’s Girls’ Resident Camp for more than 90 summers. The 101-acre camp rests along Pickerel Lake in the Manistee National Forest region. If you like spending time in the outdoors, enjoying the sun, having fun on the water, and making lifelong friendships, Camp Newaygo is the place for you.
Ages: 7 – 17
YMCA Camp Nissokone (Oscoda)
Camp Nissokone is northern Michigan’s premier overnight camping destination for kids. As one of Michigan’s longest-running summer camps and more than 100 years of experience that ensures your child will have a positive camp experience. The programs are focused on developing self-confidence, and based on our four core values: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. Great camps are built on tradition. Since 1914, campers from around the world have come together to experience adventure, friendship, and laughter on our shores, in our cabins, and in our woods. Discover 100 summers of tradition. Discover summer at its best.
Ages: 5 -18
Camp Miniwanca (Shelby)
The days are simpler. We challenge often but have more fun. The outdoors is our home. We work together to create a community where individuals are respected, and where our values guide our actions. We gain confidence. We share. We have fun. Set on 360 wooded acres and a mile of private Lake Michigan shoreline, Miniwanca is a breathtaking and inspiring setting for growth. Towering sand dunes and pines line our beach and a second, inland lake provides the perfect setting for swimming, sailing, and canoeing.
Grades 3 – 12
Camp Arbutus Hayo-Went-Ha (Traverse City)
Get ready for the summer adventure of a lifetime!! At Camp Arbutus Hayo-Went-Ha, young women and girls will experience fun and adventure in beautiful surroundings while developing lifelong friendships and memories. Campers will enjoy a great variety of activities daily. The morning schedule allows campers to work together on many of the offered activities as a cabin unit. The afternoon allows each camper to individually select any one of the following activities: sailing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, arts and crafts, archery, nature studies, soccer, ultimate frisbee, GAGA, tennis, basketball, newspaper, drama, and dance.
Grades 3 – 11
Camp Carvela (Traverse City)
Camp Carvela is an organization that empowers young people through experiential learning. We strive to make a positive impact on each member of our community by building connections to self, others and the natural world. Throughout all that we do, we work to create positive connections between campers and staff alike and meaningful experiences for all. When a participant finishes their time with us, we hope they will have a stronger sense of self and independence, a better understanding of how to relate to and communicate with others, and will have tried something new!
Ages: 7 – 17
Crystalaire Adventures (Traverse City)
Crystalaire Adventures is a wilderness expedition program. The programs are designed to help participants discover themselves, build community and connect to the natural world. We have a different approach than most trips programs: Through consensus decision making, the participants create their own experience. They have control over almost every aspect of their trip. These real-life decisions build community and impart leadership and teamwork skills.
Ages: 10 -17
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Twin Lake)
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, a summer school of the arts located on a 1,600 acre campus in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest, offers fine arts education for all ages. Each summer, the principal camp program serves students with diverse programs in music, art, dance, and drama while offering more than 175 performances during its Summer Arts Festival. Since its inception in 1966, Blue Lake has provided cultural enrichment to more than 350,000 gifted students and countless concert-goers.
Grades: 5 – 12
Photo credit: Facebook
ABOUT ASHLEY HUBBARD-PORTER
Ashley Porter is a Chicago native who now calls Birmingham home. Ashley and her husband Mike and son Jake love attending local festivals, exploring Detroit’s diverse food scene, and venturing outside of Metro Detroit to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan. With a background in Early Childhood Education, Ashley loves connecting with and supporting families in her community, which is why she is so excited to be a part of LittleGuide Detroit.